How to make clay pots by hand?
To build with love is the way the craftsman … does just enough, not more and not less. - Harry Remde
CottageCrafted.com offers creative community handcrafts by traditional artisans supporting agrarians in a sustainable village context. These functional farmstead, quality handcrafts include woodworking, pottery, blacksmithing, textile crafts and more. We are joining MOTHER EARTH NEWS at their FAIR in Puyallup, Wash., May 31 to June 1, 2014, at booth 810. You will be able to see sustainable pottery made at our booth demo and FAIR workshop.
Why Do Pottery?
People around the world have used sustainable pottery for thousands of years to store and serve food, hold water, boil tea, preserve documents (in the case of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls) and for many other purposes. Cups, bowls, pots, vases, plates, saucers, butter dishes, even a “pot-within-a-pot” used for refrigeration in parts of Africa, are all traditional pottery products. This wide, purposeful use of pottery supported the local agrarian community, which is what Cottage Crafted heartily encourages.
One specific use for pottery is fermentation crockery. Handmade pottery crocks are perfect for making sauerkraut or kimchi. Fermentation is not only a great way to keep your harvest, it also exponentially increases its nutritional value.
The skills learned in making pottery are invaluable, as well. Learning about the different types of clay (and which to use), using glazes, hand-building, wheel-throwing, “firing” (baking) clay … all these are rare and valuable skills.
Find Your Own Clay
Potters have been digging and processing their own clay for millennia. It has only been since the Industrial Revolution that clay started being sold by suppliers on the market. Before that time, potters situated themselves near a good source of clay and always passed the trade down from generation to generation. In many places, such as China, Korea and Great Britain, whole families of potters would build small towns near a clay source and the local economy centered on pottery making.
Clay is a smooth soft rock made up of mineral particles as fine as dust. Clay particles are all that remain of rocks such as feldspar after these have weathered and decomposed. Most clay remains at the site where it formed, making a clay deposit. In its undeveloped state, it is one of the few natural resources that has no perceptible value of its own yet can be transformed into some of the most valued works of art.
Many potters caution that it isn’t worth the time and effort to dig your own native clay, while others strongly urge those who are able to take advantage of this abundant resource to do so. Potters can gain a great deal of practical experience and broaden their knowledge by going out and digging their own clay (and feel the fulfillment of actually making a pot from the ground up).
Here at our shop many people ask if we use clay from the Brazos River, which borders our farm. We have been unable to do so because of a major lime contamination. A good part of this is due to the high limestone cliffs just above the river. Every time it rains more limestone washes down the banks, contaminating the absorbent clay. James Chappell, author of The Potter’s Complete Book of Clay and Glazes, writes, “While the presence of alkalies can be tolerated, the presence of lime cannot; when such clay is fired, lime turns into calcium oxide, which will absorb water, expand inside the pot, and cause it to crack, flake or chip.”
There are two basic types of clay: earthenware and stoneware. Earthenware can only be fired up to the temperature range between 1700 degrees and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, it is not waterproof and the finished product can chip or scratch easily. Stoneware is much less common than earthenware, yet it is highly sought after for its durability and lasting strength. This type of clay can be fired up to 2400 degrees to become vitreous (meaning “like a rock”), making it water-proof even when left unglazed (thus the name, stoneware).
Some miles from the future extension of the Ploughshare school is a large deposit of kaolin clay in Helmer, Idaho. The mineral kaolin is an extremely refractory clay with a melting point at 3200 degrees. It cannot be used alone as a clay body due to its highly nonplastic texture. Because of this it must be combined with other clays to increase its plasticity and lower its maturing temperature. However, this clay is very durable and has a low rate of shrinkage, making it one of the most sought-after ingredients for making pottery in the United States. We have yet to work with it ourselves but we are looking forward to possibly using this native clay source (with which we could supply the needs of our school and craft shop).
Now that we have the foundation of pottery (the clay), we’ll put it into use. The simplest method of making pottery is hand-building: You form the pottery entirely in your hands, instead of on the wheel.
Making a Pinch Pot
A pinch pot can be as simple as a little bowl to put knickknacks in, or it can be as elaborate as a teapot with a footed sugar and creamer set. Another great thing about pinch pots is that you don’t need any specialized equipment. You can do all of this right on your kitchen table!
Start by making a small ball of clay. The smoother and rounder you get it to begin with, the better the finished product is going to look. Once your ball is ready, poke your thumb straight down into the middle of it, and then pinch the clay between your thumb and fingers.
Squeeze with the full length of your fingers, not just with your fingertips. Pinch and turn. Continue turning and pinching until you go all the way around. Multiple small pinches will yield better results than just a few forceful ones.
The lip of your bowl may be a little rough at this point. You can use your fingers and thumb to smooth and even it out. Now, begin to work any lumps out of walls of your bowl. Smooth them out with your thumb. It is not necessary to use any water during the making of your pot, unless the clay begins to crack. If this happens, use only a dab of water to help you smooth them out. Too much water will cause your pot to begin to dissolve and you will end up with a mess instead of a pot! just a few large, forceful ones. Keep the pot cupped in your hand as you work with it. Work your way around until the walls of your bowl are evenly thinned out.
Once you are satisfied with how your pot looks, set it down on the table and gently tap it. Using your finger or thumb on the inside, smooth and press the base down. This will create a flat base for your pot. You can also, at this point, turn it over and smooth out any remaining cracks or crevices on the outside.
That's basically it for a pinch pot. You can start with small pinch pots and work your way up as you become more comfortable with making them. Eventually, you can make things such as tall vases, salt and pepper shakers, or sets of matching bowls or mugs.
If you don't have access to a kiln and you would like to do this at home, you can use the mud in your backyard or buy self-drying clay at a craft store and finish it out yourself at home. You wouldn't be able to use these pieces for food, but you can paint them with acrylic paints and then use them for knickknack dishes. This would be great practice, but eventually, if you’re going to get serious about pottery, you will want to invest in a small kiln.nowhere generation? is 1 8 miles far? how much machine operator earn? how long theory test waiting list? why examples are important? where does blogger milabu live? how much influence does social media have where favorite place when interview ask about salary? what diagram means which grow bag is best? who career login where opportunity knox? why summary writing is important? which industries are most likely to franchise? where users folder mac which algorithm is not greedy algorithm where is garden answers from where to ask questions on reddit how many days between challenges on the challenge? where does leadership begin? when do classification systems change workshop who am i? where algorithm come from what leadership skills are your strongest how many marketing emails to send per week who working languages? how algorithm complexity is measured? how important is sleep where to find leader of dawnguard which summary of the passage is the most accurate what means lgbtqia? where leaders are made where are seventh generation from when developers are having trouble delivering which activities are covered by reg b? which degree is the highest? how many generation of ipad pro are there when dev anand died who frax algorithm how activities help students? why theory podcast transcript how much recruiters make uk? where to service omega watch in singapore? why object in deposition whose answer which industries are recession proof? where to turn in collectables ffxiv which architect built taj mahal? how industries cause global warming? why subject biology is multidimensional subject how leaders hold employees accountable? how much developer to bleach how often questions options? where to make blogger where to answers questions where to research companies where to find developer options in oppo? how far meaning in pidgin english how many interview questions? how leaders influence others how important is technology in education why career change? which intelligence am i? whom subject? how long theory test take where to do algorithm? who challenge god in the bible why influence others? where to put subject in formal letter how many developer blueprints are in dying light why engineering college essay how much industrial engineers make? what challenge did chandler win who created god? how long generation? why theory is important? what math is after algebra 2? which grow zone am i in? what vacancies are available how summarize an article? whose objective is the protection of local industries where architects stay weare transfer station holiday hours? where to answer psl questions? how much maintenance per child in ireland? how often is frequent skills where needed? who is maintenance engineer where is developer option in realme? where engineering process? what theory is play therapy based on? where interview for green card who developed the hierarchy of needs? whose whom examples where grow pine tree? how to obtain skills? what degree is a fever why opportunity is important? how many industries should i invest in? where internet is not required answer? are workshops effective? where to job search when opportunity knocks quote? how many miles is considered far? how long transfer between banks? where to report opportunity zone deferral where object and which means synonym? from where to learn machine learning? why leadership skills are important when engineering and administrative controls? why generation x? how far quiz questions? how many theory test questions are there? where is favorite button? where in the industrial field is radioactivity used? an equation whose degree is 1 how architect earn money? how much leader should i use who physical activities where to improve my english? which math is the hardest when questions examples who developed python? who whom which là gì why blogging is important for business when recruiter asks for salary range who classification of brain tumors? when dev diwali in 2022? what diagram is shown in the picture? how many answers can i get wrong where architects are in demand which skills are in demand which challenge contestants have died? how far is the river summary why activities are important in the classroom overcoming what does it mean who object question? which career is best for introverts why degree is a pitching wedge? how many skills to list on resume whose o which who career indonesia? how algorithm helps programmer how many important rivers in india? whom usage in a sentence? where examples mysql why object oriented programming? how many questions are on the permit test which industrial revolution is south africa in? why diagrams in uml? how much influence does the president have on inflation? whom meaning in urdu? how frequently or how frequent? where to find theory test pass number? how theory is formulated how leadership has changed? whos who question how long activities? which summary of protein synthesis is correct? how math is used in the real world who vacancies namibia? where to interview how far is the river summary why industries are important who important died today 2022 how often work out arms why overcoming fear? what create wind? where do babies come from challenge? where to online thrift? where subject verb who developed the geocentric theory? which questions examples? what leadership style is most effective how much recruitment agencies charge how much research assistant get paid how much degree today? where transfer video to dvd whom she where to buy degree certificate in nigeria? summary when applying for a job? what degree is an approach wedge where are important rivers where to get leaders where aircraft maintenance where is maintenance mode in wordpress? where to market your business online who classification of leukemia who's favorite to win nba championship? whom meaning in hindi answers where was i sunday times? what object am i? why theory is important? who vacancies south africa? where is animal research from? who's or whose worksheet? how workshop is conducted where do fingernails grow from? how many transfer agents are there? how many activities on common app? how much blogger earn in pakistan? where to market your business? who skill definition? what leaders do how many leadership positions for college? why industrial engineering essay where to watch generation war who answers google questions? why research is important in medicine? whose object or subject? how theory of relativity was proven? how often is the international classification of diseases updated? which users can undo a reconciliation who create google? which diagram shows a monocyte? when industry 4 0 start? picture whose subject is in a gown crossword clue? who meaning in english? whose o which? who internet cd where grow pine tree where to find theory test pass number how much item 4 do i need? why industries are important for the development of a country how much engineering courses? how long does classified information stay classified when maintenance required light honda? how marketing agencies work where to meaning in bengali? how often do pillager leaders spawn? what degree is an a wedge where to buy engineering paper? where from kapil dev what object am i? how much marketing budget for startup? whom meaning in bengali where to graph differential equations? whom examples questions? whom questions exercises? how much internet does streaming use how big is the moving industry workshop where i work how many blogger account can i have what improvement is focused by operations managers where to solve math problems? where to job hunt how intelligence affects personality? which challenge character are you which leaders are seen here at yalta what skills to put on job application how math works developer how to become whose internet is bad on facetime? how much blogger earn per month where is the workshop in sanctuary fallout 4 how much activity is sedentary how much do algorithm engineers make where civil engineering work? how long activities when questions for kids? why intelligence is important for success? how often is derivative classification training required how much intelligence does wise give? how often does activity sharing update? which challenge character are you? how many activities amcas reddit